If you have read any of my wine reviews, or anyone else’s for that matter, you will note they are all in a certain format; ie look, smell, taste, evaluate.
Why look (rather than diving in head first)? Well a cloudy or hazy wine (or orange!) can indicate a fault. Smell can help detect faults such as cork taint or oxidation but more specifically can help us build a flavour profile for the wine. The majority of a wine’s aromas will follow through to the palate (taste) so this is a real insight into the delights to come.
The tasting process should be broken down in to the following categories: Sweetness is detected on the very tip of your tongue. If this doesn’t tingle then your wine is more than likely dry. Acidity is noted on the sides of the tongue and inside of the mouth giving a sort of mouthwatering sensation. A Sauvignon Blanc normally has high levels of acidity. Tannin (not in white wines) is a gum coating sensation often experienced when drinking strong tea, the level or type of tannin is more than likely responsible for any harshness you may experience. Body is the weight of the wine or the mouthfeel, light medium or full-bodied. Complexity is simply the number of flavours or aromas the wine is exhibiting; it can be a simple single-dimensional wine or offer many flavour sensations making it very complex. Length – how long does the flavour remain once you have swallowed the wine? Assuming you are experiencing a pleasant flavour then this is a very good indicator of quality – not fail safe but well worth noting.
Ultimately we are looking for a wine that has all the above categories in balance, shows complexity, has a deliciously long finish, tastes fabulous and costs RM39(!)
Do you get what you pay for with wine? Well not always but that is true with many things in life. This system, however, can be invaluable when trying to track down wines that suit your palate and budget as well as building up your own catalogue of reviews – or you can just rely on me!!